Finding myself in the Middle East

Monday, August 31, 2009

Crisis in Kindergarten

Is 11 o'clock in the morning too early for a drink? It's 5 o'clock somewhere, and that will just have to be enough for me today.

So first, Princess is enrolled in a wonderful transitional kindergarten. The way it's supposed to work is that the teacher starts off the year in English, which is th only language that my daughter really knows as of yet, (although I did not have the heart to tell her that her endless sentences of gibberish are not, in fact Hebrew, until she came over to me the other day, tears streaming down her cheeks, and told me that the Israeli girl upstairs was ignoring her. "I said ghsae shameti bracha to her, and she just walked away!")

Okay, then a few weeks ago I discover that the transitional gan is not going to open this year. (I called the teacher. She did not call me. She was in a constant state of "totally just about to call you!" the whole year.)The reason why is so stupendously stupid and lowers my regard for mankind in general and mothers in particular, and gives me such a bad craving for Ben and Jerries Chunky Monkey that I will not write about it here. Suffice to say, it's a dumb and idiotic and maybe even moronic, but the bottom line is, I had to apply late for the govorment kindergarten and therefore I did not get into the one that I wanted.

I wanted that one because it's closer, all her friends are there, and I heard good things about the teacher. But! One must go on. I tried to be possitive about the new place, as can be clearly seen in the next few groups of parenthesis. I got into one that was farther away,(more exersise for me! Yay me!) does not contain anyone that she knows (she'll make new friends! It's good for her!) and has a new, untried teacher. (Fresh blood! New ideas!)

But. When I got the letter yesterday from the exciting new exersise-inducing, harbringer of new friends and container for fresh blood teacher, I realized that Princess is actually enrolled in a younger grade.

And now hours of phonecalls and pleading are before me.

So I ask you yet again, kind, understanding Internet. Should I wait an hour? Or can I have a drink now?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Soul Search

Sometimes, you hear people say things. Good things. Things that should go straight to your heart. But they don't. You write the words down, and then when you go home, the notebook with those words gets placed in the pile with the other notebooks, and you cook dinner and clean up and go to sleep and grit your tired teeth (teeth get tired! they do! when your baby is up at the top of every hour because she discovered that she is turning two and is too sweet for turning two. Her childhood is slipping away before her very eyes! she must do something evil and two-year-old like, before it is too late! something like waking up 5-6 times per night and making her mother and father's teeth tired! and gums. and legs. and nerves.) when your baby is up yet again and you stomp over to her crib in a blurry haze of exhaustion and never bring to mind the words in the notebook about raising children and What It All Means.

Then someone else says those same exact words. But this time, you cry. And your heart soaks it all up. Because this person who is telling you all about the job of raising pure beautiful souls just lost one of hers. A soul that was only here for 3 and a half years.

Rocheli, you lived and died for a reason. Your death seems to have been a horrible freak accident, but we know that there are no such things as accidents. You died to teach us about life. You died to teach the rest of us how to live and raise our children, and what the ultimate goal for us as mothers is: to treasure the responsibility that we have been handed and to treat our children with the same Love that has been shown to us when they were handed to to us in the first place.

G-d, please grant me the patience that I do not always have to see in my children the heavenly souls within their human bodies. And please help me to never lose sight of them. Even as they wake up hour after hour after hour.

Maybe it's not about terrible twos at all. Maybe she is just doing that to remind me once again of how truly blessed I am to have her--both of them--in my life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The next morning

I pulled Princess closer to me on the couch. "Princess, I have something to tell you."


I took a deep breath. "Remember Sabba R? We visited him so many times this summer? And you kissed him on the cheek and Savta gave you a chocolate candy?"

"I remember the chocolate candy!" her dimple peeks out at the memory. "And Sabba's cheek. It had prickles."

My eyes burn. He always had prickly cheeks. As though he was in a constant state of having shaved the day before.

"Well, Sabba...he..." why is that word so hard? Died. He died. We always have to soften that reality with phrases like " he's passed on." or "we lost him." or "he's gone." But I have to say the word died to her. I can't have her think that we can go around misplacing people or something. If she's anything like I was at her age, that would be exactly what she would think. "Sabba died."

"Sabba died?"

My throat burns. "Yes."

"Like Zeidy?"

"Yes. He's in shamayim now, with Hashem."

"Oh." She thinks about it. I get tense. "So Hashem came out of shamayim and took him back with Him?"

I relax a bit. "Yes, exactly."

"How can He do that? Without us seeing Him?"

"...well, He's Hashem. He can do everything."

"Without us seeing Him?"

"Without us seeing Him."

"Can you read Madeline to me and bring me milk? In the pink cup."

So that was it, death explained to a 4 year-old. She made sure that the concept was clear in her mind, the "how" fully elaborated on, and then she was on to more important things, such as short picture books about young french school girls. And milk. In the pink cup.

How is so much easier to answer than why.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I kissed his bristly, slightly swollen cheek, promised lightly to see him in a few months, told him I loved him, and said goodbye. Then in the back of my head, a small voice said, well, this might be it. He is 90 years old, sick, and you won't be back in the states for a while. This might be it. So make it count. So I kissed him again, and bribed the kids to kiss him, and said I love you with all my heart.

Then I got on the airplane and landed with half of my sanity intact thanks to benadril, unpacked, got half out of jetlag, and then took a night off to go swimming with a friend of mine. I left behind an exhausted husband whom I ordered directly into bed.

I got home and he was still up. Because he was waiting up for me with news.

My goodbye was forever.

My grandfather is gone.

I don't have any clever words about full lives well lived and tender memories, although that is true about him. I just have a hole in my heart, and a very unreal feeling about me. Like my head and heart are full but empty at the same time. I'm cold and hot all at once.I want to clean up my whole apartment and curl up on my couch with a blanket.

I just want to say I love you and goodbye one more time.

Just one more time.

Just once more.

I love you, Sabba.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...